The Shock Absorber

40 Episodes

By: Soul Revival Church

Thinking and doing church a little differently...

Re-invent church a little to forge ageless friendships
Last Tuesday at 7:00 PM

After talking through cultural instances of old and young working together, Stu, Tim and Joel get into why it would be great to recapture the intergenerational elements of pre-Industrial Revolution village life and how generations since have experienced various forms of dislocation. They discuss its impact on the church and then how ageless friendships amongst the generations can be forged and bring glory to God.

00:00 Intro and Cultural Artefact: Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds
08:38 Recapturing a healthy village
16:55 Dislocation of generations
26:43 Forging ageless friendships
40:26 STU'S IDEA: Creating friendships with other churches

Who's building the church? Who's influencing culture?

After a quick dip into Night Bombers and Culture Making, Stu and Joel talk about how Christians impact culture by expressing their identity in Christ. They touch on church networking, youth ministry, leadership structure, band night and creating action within the church and how it all brings glory to God.

The Kingdom habitually undermines expectations and when good reasons go wrong

Tim and Joel engage in a wide-ranging and thoughtful chat on a wide variety of topics that includes, the Reformation, how we can make more space in our lives for God to make himself known, to discipling emotions, good reasons gone wrong and Tim's research paper.

Some questions to think about:
• God is gratuitous in his love and we must be attentive to it
• Which of how habits are helping us grow closer to God, or push him further away?
• How can we helpfully disciple the strong emotions of children?
• Does the way we do ch...

Grow some weeds to plant some churches

Joey, pastor of Ryde gathering joins Stu and Joel on the pod this week to chat church planting, especially in the context of Soul Revival Church in Ryde. Using the ideas from syntropic farming, the guys discuss what it would look like to grow some weeds in certain areas in order to grow something out of nothing.

They also discuss ambiguity in ministry, why strategy is vital regardless of the context where church planting is happening and not doing anything can be more dangerous than doing something.

00:00 Intro
02:15 Syntropic farming
06:40 Joey and Soul...

Fast track future leaders with a youth camp

Brayden (Student Pastor, Arts Pastor, Youth Coordinator) and Ethan (Youth Mission Pastor) join the podcast to chat about Soul Revival Church's first ever youth camp - Origin. They run through how it was organised, what was hard, what was re-run from the old day and what wasn't. The discussion leads on to how holding a youth camp help grow the young crew in their faith and also their leadership capabilities.

00:00 Intro
02:11 The Origin of Origin
06:40 Planning and holding the youth camp
12:28 Why even hold a youth camp?
19:06 How it happened
33:06 The impact...

What are we being distracted from at church?

Tim and Joel use a question from Tim's Effective Ministry podcast as a springboard into a discussion on why we come to church and what our expectations are for church. Certain factors have possibly lead to a strong focus on cognitive engagement with the preached word of God. While essential for Christian formation, it perhaps has lead to a diminished focus on the other reasons we meet at church.

00:00 Intro and podcasts
07:38 What are we actually being distracted from at church?
17:13 How should problems be fixed?
22:19 The Reformation has shaped what we value at...

Costly discipleship can combat culture's gospel veneer

The guys sit down to make have a chat and make some Jesus beads and the attempt to explain the gospel in five sentences. Later on, they discuss Stu's idea of reversing how the leadership should think about youth ministry (any young crew coming along is a bonus) and finish with a deep dive on what costly discipleship looks like in a world that actively teaches against it.

00:00 Intro and Jesus beads
03:14 Explaining the gospel in five sentences
15:30 Non-anxious presence in youth ministry
38:41 Costly discipleship in today's world


Avoiding tunnel vision with discipleship and mission | The Shock Absorber

This week on the Shock Absorber, the guys chat about ensuring tunnel vision does not develop when it comes to discipleship and mission. They chat about two clear examples of discipleship and mission at Soul Revival Church and what that entails for the church and also individuals as it pursues it's 2030 goals.

Quote of the episode: "Not everyone has to do evangelism, but everyone CAN do evangelism" - Stu

00:00 Intro
03:02 Ayrton's Senna tunnel vision
07:17 Discipleship and mission
21:54 Discipleship - Week Away
34:34 Mission - Colours of Life
51:44 Stu's Phd update


Has the suburban identity colonised the church?

Stu and Tim return to continue their intellectual stoush around Stu's Phd work. It leads to a discussion around the impact of suburbia from the 1950s onwards and the loss of community due to the subsequent individualism and materialism.

That also leads to questions about the church. Have Christians been lead to conflate the values of the gospel with the values of a middle class suburban identity? While the Bible affirms some aspects of culture but also critiques other aspects, what is the value of Christians living a counter-cultural lifestyle in a world that tells them not...

Is Bible college the only pathway into paid ministry?

Tim and Joel have the pleasure of having Aaron Smith, of the Aspire podcast, second year SMBC student and Student Pastor at Anchor Church Northern Beaches to talk ministry opportunities and pathways and how churches can continue to look for the next generation of pastors and ministry staff.

00:00 Intro and magic jackets
01:17 Welcome Aaron
07:49 Tim's trip to Nashville
12:12 Alone
15:30 Journeys to ministry can be quite different
46:00 The changing nature of ministry and it's pathways
1:02:08 Do you need to go to Bible college first?
1:12:43 How do churches look for ministers?



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The church generations accommodating one another - false hope or real promise?

Stu, Tim and Joel continue to debate ideas around Stu's phD and the Four Views of Youth Ministry. Just like the book, Tim has his rebuttal ready and waiting for Stu's announcement last episode of leaning more towards the Strategic approach than before. Stu gets to respond, while also reflecting that it's too hard to get feisty when he agrees with someone as much as he does with Tim!

The discussion though leads to questions about models of youth ministry and it's impacts. Mark Senter says that no one in the church listens to anybody in the...

Downright feisty? Creating a church that wants to keep changing

Stu and Joel look at how youth ministry shapes can shape churches now and in the future. Using Stu's recent revelations after re-visiting Mark Senter's downright feisty Four Views of Youth Ministry, they discuss what a church that wants to keep changing looks like.

Could youth leaders be trained up to eventually plant churches? Could relationships be institutionalised in a way so the young are prepared to take over the church - making the accountability and Biblical wisdom of the older generations even more important.

Know the Four Views of Youth Ministry? Email joel@shockabsorber...

Drop the cringe factor, authentically

Joel and Stu chat coming up with ideas and getting people onboard with those ideas.They use Everett Rogers' diffusion of ideas theory as a lens to look at how ideas start, spread and build momentum. The encouragement is that Christianity by its very nature is perpetually new, so we are afforded a great freedom to explore new ideas as we partner with Jesus as while He build His church.

00:00 Intro
01:45 Air
08:11 Permission to come up with new ideas
18:00 Changing the idea of rationing church
23:39 Building momentum around an idea
35:12 Most people...

Children are the church of today: Articulating strategy of children's ministry

Tim and Joel chat the strategy children's ministry. They look at a myriad of different approaches and discuss why Soul Revival practice intergenerational ministry as well as also age-specific ministries.

00:00 Intro & High Ground
05:23 Tim's passion for children's ministry and ministry barriers
15:26 Ministry shaping metaphors
33:47 Children within intergenerational ministry
50:50 The benefits of age-specific ministry


High Ground
Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community


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Churches started competing…

The guys continue the discussion on the Shock Absorber about the effect the pursuit of professionalism has had on churches. From the 1980s churches have felt the need to create an appealing 'product' to those who don't know Jesus. In some respects, that approach lead to churches competing against one another and caused an increase in transience, affecting discipleship and mission. Under God, Christians can be okay with not being fully accepted by the world, we are called to be counter-cultural.

00:00 Intro
01:09 Rogue Heroes
06:00 How churches began competing with each other
16:20 How transience became...

Experimentation over professionalism

Stu, Tim and Joel are back in the saddle for another episode. They get Stu's reaction to the Jesus Revolution movie and some of the lessons from it to discuss church planting, gospel opportunities and welcoming failures. They round out the episode with a discussion about the importance of carving out intentional time to spend with each other in the name of Jesus.

00:00 Intro
01:16 Jesus Revolution
10:50 Partnership Evangelism as local mission strategy
21:17 Welcoming failure at the expense of professionalism
31:30 Leading as friends
34:50 Intentional time in the name of Jesus


Blow up some rockets in the midst of gospel opportunities

Jai (Planting Pastor) and Brayden, (Arts andStudent Pastor) Joel for a peek behind the curtain at Soul Revival Church by bringing ideas discussed as a staff team straight onto the podcast. They explore some the gospel opportunities that have emerged at the church amidst the background of the church's goal of Doubling Up by 2030. They discuss what makes any Soul Revival gathering the same, how gatherings are categorised and how the church aims to partner with Jesus to make the most of gospel opportunities

00:00 Intro
01:10 Movie: Jesus Revolution
06:19 This is Jesus' gospel opportunity
15:55 Mistakes...

The Friendship Recession?

The friendship recession appears to be a real thing, but what are the causes of it? Joel, Tim and Ethan chat about the implications of the internet and the digital realm, what can be done about it and how being a Christian changes how we approach it.

00:00 Intro and Ethan's Disney jumper
02:32 Lego Masters
08:24 More connected, but more lonely
22:44 Time and task, proximity matters
26:10 Is there a friendship recession amongst younger people?
36:36 Separating the digital from the actual
48:52 Your phone cannot help you be a disciple of Jesus
55:31 Leaders or...

Reconciliation, a friendship recession, capitalism, communism and the battle of ideas - circle back to Jesus

From discussions around Easter to reconciliation, friendship recession, capitalism, communism and the battle of ideas, the guys discuss how in a world of so much change, there aren't ministry problems, but a plethora of gospel opportunities...

00:00 Intro
01:00 Easter 2023
18:52 Ministry problems, or gospel opportunities?
35:29 Secularism embracing the benefits of religion
47:16 God has created us to be in friendship with each other


Biblical Critical Theory, by Christopher Watkin
Hospital Creek Massacre
David Perell's 28 Pieces of Life Advice
Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind...

There's nothing stopping us being friends, Jesus died for us

Ethan comes onto the Shock Absorber with Joel as a guest host. They talk about Slow Horses, dive deep into the impact Jesus has on friendships and church. They finish up with some quick fire reactions to one person's life advice...

00:00 Intro
00:48 Slow Horses is great TV
05:50 Ethan's thoughts on friendship
15:30 Different but we can be friends
21:11 Jesus helps us skip to the friend part
27:33 If we are friends at church, we will be friends everywhere else
31:41 There is nothing stopping us being friends, Jesus died for us
39:49 Flying, hotel...

Do we still want to be friends?

The Shock Absorber is back as Joel, Stu and Tim chat about different things going on in the world, including the what impact ChatGPT and AI will have, Stu challenging the Soul Revival staff team on the church's value of being friends and Vans shoes.

00:00 Intro
01:00 ChatGPT and it's implications
13:47 New technologies bring new ways of living
27:05 Vans culture
30:33 Why challenge the Soul Revival staff?
38:37 Do we still want to be friends?
50:49 What Vans teaches us about the intangibles


A brief...

Delight in relationships before implementing new systems

We reach the final episode of our Momentum in Ministry series and Joel, Tim and Karen reflect on the many learnings of the season. They look at what engaging in the book Breakout Churches has taught us but also look at their own church and ministry contexts as well as what might prevent momentum taking hold.

The trio's conversation comes down to a few key points: vision is important, as is the strategy, and often churches do not engage in such work because it is hard. But what can emerge from that hard work is something inspiring...

Is 'the Big Mo' achievable whilst avoiding the creep of blind erosion and resistance?

Tim, Stu and Joel take time to look at the Big Mo (not moustaches). They chat about the common factors for momentum - being evangelical, leader longevity and prayer, and also what can jeopardise momentum. The conversation then leads to other momentum makers such as making church more than one hour per week, leader vitality and church planting.

"God loves to act through our dependance..."

01:00 Westerns and iconic moustaches
05:55 Ups and downs in decline and/or growth
10:58 What does momentum look like for a leader?
15:37 Factors influencing momentum: longevity
30:03 Factors influencing...

Innovation requires straddling the line between resistance and non-stop change

Innovation and change is a key part of the church continuing to move forward and grow, just as the Christian life is one of sanctification and growth. From getting congregations on board for change, bringing in change too fast and the impact of facilities and location, the key for churches is to ride the line between resistance and innovation. Ultimately, it must come down to the vision, strategy and practice of the church.

The guys finish up the pod with some encouragement for leaders on how not to get sucked into the innovation trap of trying every...

Creating a culture of excellence that's theologically and Biblically driven

Stu, Tim and Joel chat about how a culture of excellence differs from a church context to a business or corporate setting as it is Biblically and theologically driven. Jesus' model of leadership provides a framework to determine the expectations and freedom that ministry staff and lay leaders operate within with. This also helps leadership say yes or no to certain ideas so that the church stays true to its vision.

01:35 CULTURAL ARTEFACT: Admiral Nelson
10:16 Why a culture of excellence is attractive
22:04 What is a culture of excellence at church?
30:05 The gospel is what...

Vision requires passionate leadership, mission and discipleship

The Third Space Studio is opened up again to discuss the importance of vision in ministry. Through the lens of the Vision Intersection Profile from Breakout Churches, the guys discuss how vision comes from working together with what God has given and what he calls people to, which is then backed by a passionate leadership team committed to the people they want to raise up. The guys also touch some reasons that church leaders may feel a lack of passion in their work.

03:40 Footloose and the voice of the youth
14:47 Vision first requires partnership with Jesus<...

Is ministry a choice between friendship and efficiency?

Stu, Tim and Joel take a look at the structures and the people within the church that can contribute to momentum in ministry. While theological alignment is of utmost importance, another key contributor to momentum is strategy, which is often not discussed and even less articulated amongst churches. When aligned on these values, the leadership and church can be more flexible and ready to change in how they live that out. 

After discussing the other key area or people, they then hit upon a key idea: to build momentum in ministry, look first to build momentum in r...

Is it time for a ministry wake-up call?

Change is hard. And making changes in churches can be hard. Stu, Tim and Joel sit down for another chat around momentum in ministry and look at how static models can lead to crisis moments, upheaval and change. Alternatively, a model that institutionalises change creates an environment for experiments to be had and leads to less of a need for such a crisis moment.

00:52 Cultural Artefact or story: Stu went to a Hoodoo Gurus concert
04:40 Moments of awareness and institutionalising change
21:09 The role of spiritual maturity and growth in change
37:23 Humility it's role in...

Legacy leaders are evangelical, long term, passionate and show unconditional love

In the shadow of the Queen of England's passing, Joel, Tim and Stu discuss her legacy of long term stability as a leader and what we can learn from such a legacy. As Thom Rainier explains in Breakout Churches, legacy leaders among the church are evangelical, long term, passionate and show unconditional love to the people they serve. Stu and Tim's varied experiences of ministry leadership become a great insight into how those gifts and skills develop over time, and the distinct benefits of leading from a position that is long term and relational.

00:00 Intro
01:15 What...

What types of growth are actually healthy for a church?

Karen and Tim are in the Third Space Studio with Joel to continue discussing Momentum in Ministry. The term growth is inevitably linked to momentum. They look at the different types of growth and the key markers associated with it, including long term leadership and self-reflection.

They also work through the danger of only applying business principles when determining how to grow, which can sometimes lead to the squandering of the talents and gifts God has blessed us with. All in all, it is vital to focus on partnering with Jesus as he builds his church.


Announcing the 2022 Shock Absorber Conference!

Date: Saturday 29 October, 2022
Location: Soul Revival Church, 40A Flora Street, Kirrawee
Time: TBA
Cost: $10


Is ministry on the decline?

Stu, Joel and special guest Ethan are here to kick off the latest season of the Shock Absorber - Momentum in Ministry. They discuss how to identify if a ministry has plateaued or is even in decline, what to we can do to encourage fresh ideas, and ways to look out for institutionalisation. Also is Huckleberry Finn an accurate picture of what church is like these days?

01:29 Cultural Artefact: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
06:10 Are statistics showing Christianity is in decline or just reflecting reality?
11:05 What can ministry plateau look like?
20:03 Examples of institutionalisation...

250 people go away for a whole week?

The Shock Absorber is back with a bonus episode on a Soul Revival institution - Week Away. What started as a holiday amongst Christian friends grew into slightly edgy, counter-cultural move against church being watered down to just one hour a week. 25 years on, Soul Revival Church's Week Away sees 250+ people go away to spend five days in God's word and with each other. Stu and Joel chat about memories of Week Away, it's meaning and why it's such a pivotal moment in Soul Revival's yearly calendar.

01:53 Memories of Week Away
04:52 Week Away 2022 and village life<...

Season 6 Update

Joel gives a quick update on where the Shock Absorber is headed next.


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So what did happen to evangelism?

Tim and Joel close out the final episode of our season Whatever Happened to Evangelism? From Jesus' command in Mark 1:15 and touring through history, we gained an understanding of what has shaped evangelism up until today. Christianity is always going to be questioned but we can allow God to help us express a genuine faith and research reveals that people are more open to a conversation about Jesus than we may initially think. Tim and Joel then finish with what they've been encouraged by this season.

00:00 Intro
02:38 Cultural Artefact: Tim's experience of confident Christianity
13:55 Did...

Confident Christians

This year, 2022, marks the 30-year anniversary since the inception of Soul Revival. The guys take a look over what's been learnt over the years to help Christians be humbly confident and as a result, continue to evangelise. This includes semiotics, giving your best night to God and spending time with one another, building relationships around Jesus.

01:29 Cultural Artefact: Soul Revival Semiotics
19:15 Using different tools to evangelise
29:16 Our distinctiveness as Christians
41:45 What are we making important?
57:07 Discipleship and mission starts the local church
1:15:11 Building relationship with other churches

Watch this episode...

Does religion cause all wars?

A trope that's often thrown at Christians since 9/11 is that religion causes all wars. Stu, Tim and Joel are in the Third Space Studio to examine the oft-raised comment and contend that a deeper dive into statistics and world history paints a different picture. They delve into where such arguments come from, how Christians can approach it and how to hold onto the evangelical line when doing so.

2:05 Cultural Artefact: Hacksaw Ridge
9:50 War is not glorious but intriguing
14:28 New atheism, 9/11 and post-Christianity
25:03 Adopting the right posture
33:53 Where does the argument come from?

No wonder people don't want to share their faith...

The Shock Absorber takes it's tour of history all the way up to the present as we continue to discuss evangelism. Some Christians are perplexed on how to evangelise among a culture that continues to look as if we disagree more than ever. After looking at culture wars, the battle of ideas and Donald Trump; Stu, Tim and Joel settle on one thing: Let's preach the gospel and have a conversation centred around faith based on Jesus, then we can all have different opinions and still gather together regardless.

Apologies for the bad audio for Tim at...

The changing nature of apologetics (with Timothy Paul Jones)

The Shock Absorber welcomes Timothy Paul Jones onto the podcast! TPJ's presence inspires a wide-ranging discussion about the evangelical lines, the current state of evangelism, family ministry, apologetics and how it's often more about the morals rather than the miracles when discussing Jesus with non-believers.

01:47 Meet TPJ and Cultural Artefact - Skillet
11:38 The lines of evangelicalism and the current moment
28:34 TPJ's Fundamentalist church experience and the difficulty of bundling
34:43 The state of evangelism, challenging others and creating conversations
50:55 Embracing difference + family ministry
1:05:03 Navigating different cultural contexts while preaching

Watch this...